Friday, April 25, 2008

Silly, mean fines

I'm not one who likes to take cheap shots at the Montreal police. Whatever the occasional failing of some of their members, police officers are there 24/7 to protect you if someone is trying to hurt you. For that the police deserve our praise and respect.

Two stories this week annoyed me, however.

Item #1: A university student got a $628 fine for sitting on a granite ledge of some sort at Émilie Gamelin Park (de Maisonneuve and Berri streets). Montreal bylaws, it seems, state one can sit only on park bench when in a park. The police say they warned the student several times to move off the granite ledge (pictured below). This story even made the UPI wire service. Was the student being a jerk? Perhaps. The fine, however, seems excessive.

This will cost you $628.
(Photo credit: Phil Carpentier, The Gazette)

Item #2: Motorists dropping off passengers at the commuter train station in Beaconsfield were given tickets, according to a letter writer in The Gazette. Apparently a new no stopping sign was erected but instead of giving warning tickets, the police starting fining people right away. The letter writer explains that the new "waiting area is not clearly demarcated nor is it pedestrian-friendly." As she writes, why not give warnings first, like the police are doing to enforce the new Quebec law banning non-hands-free use of mobile phones while driving? Worst still, why target commuters who are doing their part by taking public transit?